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  CSPAN    Capital News Today    News/Business. News.  

    December 3, 2012
    11:00 - 2:00am EST  

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protect us from other storms in the future. a while back i was talking with a good friend of mine and i asked her he was doing. his response was, compared to a? it's really a good way to look at how sandy has affected us in delaware compared to our neighbors to the north. we are doing okay. this sandy didn't spare delaware and we have produced beyond our state's ability to provide. from the moment it is clear we are in the storm's path, i've been grateful for the work of governor jack martel and his entire team. state, county, local officials, first responders, american red cross, national guard, many volunteers are hoped to protect the residents as it approached and well after it passed.
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president obama, fema, the rest of the administration's team working hand in glove with their state team. in this case there was really a team. as i like to say there is no i in the word team. i should have the army corps of engineers has been particular in responding to hurricane sandy. over the years, funded by a series of storm protection projects in maryland are polite, robust and strong, healthy systems. these types of projects criticized at the time by some on my opinion because they performed exceptionally well during sandy black hundreds of millions, maybe billions of dollars in damage. ashur protection withstand storm
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surge in better then baked circe wells while also enhancing the environment. although the project on our coast of their job, they were weakened or in the storm not require repairs so were not for mobility future storms. unfortunately the northeast mid-atlantic received more frequent and larger storms like standing in the future. the 70 to find cost-effective ways to ensure projects will continue to protect lives and property. we also need to look into whether adaptive measures. wetlands, oyster beds and sea grass that are cost and can be sustained for years to come. but can also get better results for less money if we allow states more flexibility in managing different sources along the shoreline is a complete set of the system instead as an individual project. this strategy is called regional government man to rent this one that deserves more attention.
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madam chair and colleagues, i think you've concluded your draft of water resources bill in which i appreciate and i hope we can address that later this year. unfortunately, other areas where this will protect it and saw. this first photo -- this is a new bridge over the indian river inland. you can ask the atlantic ocean to the delaware. that's a new bridge could be spent over $200 million on the bridge in the last several years. a lot of federal money, quite a bit of state. this is the old bridge. it disappeared. it's gone. this is a highway to the old bridge. ron. four months ago people make their way up and down the east
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coast. today the bridge is completely gone along with highway approaches. the new bridge are threatened and we want to make sure we've made a $200 million investment that we don't use the bridge. until the bridge can work underwater. unfortunately you can't get to the bridge and the beaches of rio to the easter pâté densities to be there argonne and they need to be replaced. thank you. in addition, a huge breach fewell -- with the delaware bay and delaware river and i want us to take a look at a couple other photosphere just north of the town called lewis, we have a
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huge 10,000-acre plus national wildlife refuge called crime hook and it's important to replace lopez migratory flyway. what are the only places where you or shoot come to shore to spohn. severe during breaches on the right of this photo is the atlantic ocean for the delaware bay. this is refuge, big refuge. that is a modest breach in the system, which allows the ocean, if you will, to come into the refuge. let's look at the next picture. this is that same refuge. top part of the picture. what used to be a wildlife
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refuge is now water surge through the expanded jim bridges and return a freshwater refuge into a saltwater marsh. it used to be a road that went through their and connect to the western part of our state to the shore communities. that's the road. thank you very much. >> we've also experienced widespread damage to broader state stakes, dance as far north as delaware city in newcastle. roads and bridges in various parts of our state have been damaged and will need to be repaired or replaced. meanwhile we continue to work at fema and other agencies to determine the full extent of damage. delaware and its local jurisdictions contribute a large amount of resources and a short
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period of time to prepare for and respond to the storm and to begin rebuilding and its weight. eliminate damage assessment show more will be required and given already state budget we need help in filling the gaps as much as the gulf coast states needed. madam chair, and i just want to say thanks for the chance to share some of these with you today and let you know about the impacts. in delaware we have a long tradition of helping our neighbors, whether they live down the street are well beyond our borders. for years we've helped other sister state suffered from disasters be they hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or wildfires. today, the shoe is on the other foot. we need to help our neighbors, not just in delaware, but all across the country. just as we've been there for
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them, we hope they will be there now for us, new jersey, new york and other hard-hit states as well. but look forward to working with all of you to enable us to recover and rebuild a cell is better protect ourselves from future storms that are likely to come our way. thanks. >> thank you very much, senator. senator cardin. >> thank you, madam chair. let me ask my entire statement be included in the record. thank you so much not just for convening this hearing, but for your leadership in dealing with these issues, but for your leadership in dealing with these issues to the needs of the communities and individuals who issues to the needs of the communities and individuals who impact did by the severe weather events, but your leadership in directing this committee to look at race in which we can make our communities less vulnerable. sandy was a devastating storm. 80 lives were lost as a result
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of the storm. seven in the state of maryland. 8 million people in the united states for some time were without power as a result of sandy. maryland feared much better than our surrounding states. we spent a lot of our resources to help friends in new york, new jersey and other states impacted, but of the severe for the people of hurricane. the amount of high sustained winds were unprecedented in our state. 70 mile-per-hour when for hour upon hour, doing incredible damage to our state. heavy rains. we had record number amount of rain from the storm. nine inches in the coastal area. that caused extreme coastal flooding. the storm surges were severe in the ways were as high as seven feet. i want to talk specifically about two regions of our state
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in which the people today are still trying to recover from the severity of the storm. one is western maryland. while we experienced nine inches of rain, on the western part of her estate in appalachia, they have this blizzard that dumped 30 inches of wet snow. talk about one county, garrett county. garrett county as a county located in appalachia, somewhat remote in the mountains. total population of 30,000 people. 15,000 homes were without power. you could do a little bit of arithmetic. that is every home in that county. 3000 trees were down as a result the storm. is a living as in remote areas, not use it to get to without power, extremely vulnerable to their public safety. maryland devoted to the maryland
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national guard in its top priority. 26 humvees were to save lives and they did an incredible job in were very grateful for their heroic activities in saving lives and trying to bring people into a more normal existence. at the other end of may state on the eastern shore of maryland, they suffered a different type of damage as a result of sandy. as you know, the eastern shore is pretty flat, pretty much at sea level. when a storm like sandy approached, it caused severe flooding. in somerset county, the people of crisfield were severely impacted with the loss of their homes, businesses, aquaculture crops ruined and this is a very foldable community, not a chair. 32% live below poverty. they don't have a lot of options. they don't have resources to take care of their needs without
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assistance from government. i'm very proud of the leadership of our state in trying to help those individuals in the entire team that were ominous. many are familiar with brewster county were maryland is located. 9.8% of worcester county is below poverty and they have twice the number on average of alter the that we have in our state. they were particularly impacted by the storm. thanks to the extraordinary leadership of governor o'malley, our maryland emergency management agency and the full partnership they brought into being, including our state, local officials. we have extraordinary leadership from county executives, maryland national guard. i was with them throughout the storm. they do put people where they were needed and work around the clock and save lives. i want to thank the red cross.
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they were there helping us in as soon as we were stabilized and moved onto the next community that could use their resources. we sought extra efforts by her first responders and ordinary citizens that help save lives. we had evacuations and queen and county, harper county, baltimore county, baltimore city people of equity from homes. 41 childress established, with dozen citizens in the shelters. bottom line is we can't handle this on our own. to underscore your point senator carper made, we as a nation have come together to communities impacted by these types of events have used federal government and its resources to help bring communities back to where they need to be. we were very much in tune and as disasters have been about parts of our country to be a good neighbor and we need help today. i want to thank president obama
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for the disaster declaration for maryland. that allows fema to be available for public assistance. we have a request for individual disaster assistance for the individuals impact did. that proposal is still pending. i'll be working with governor o'malley to make sure the individuals impact did by this storm have a strong departure from the federal government as we can possibly have. madam chair, it's highly likely will have to pass a supplemental urgency appropriations bill. i know that's not in this committee, but a to point out we had to make sure the resources are available in congress were shortly be a churning. i hope we pay attention during this session of congress to make sure federal agencies have researches resources they need to deal with the consequences of hurricane sandy. from this committee's point of view, we need to put at the
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environmental impact. there's been numerous oil spills that have impact on our environment. we've had major problems on our shorelines and we're going to need to take a look at shoreline restorations and other issues. i would urge our committee to be prepared to deal with those issues. as the chairman pointed out, we have to deal with the funding of storm infrastructure. your absolutely right. our first obligation is to make sure people affected and communities affected that we do what we can to where they need to be and we need to do with public safety issues because these will occur more frequently in the future. let me just give you one example. we've invested in and see colin. the beaches have been the prime last because it acts as a natural storm break to ocean city in which there's lots of
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people who live, how poems, et cetera. it were. it prevented a lot more damage that would otherwise occur. i know it is an investment. sometimes people wonder why we make those investments. they make those investments to save lives and property and it didn't work. i'm going to be coming back to my colleagues in telling you we need to invest in those types of common sense ways we can deal with the realities of severe weather. we also need to share the development atwater bill. i know you had a hearing on that. we need to move that forward. that provides areas where we can help with the necessary infrastructure to deal with flooding and storm damage. it introduced the water infrastructure resiliency sustainability a such as reducing flood and vulnerable communities. it deals with those communities
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at sea level issues. sea levels rising and we have to do with that in the way we provide support to our local communities. as i said before, our first priority is to help affected communities and individuals to get the help they need. i would commit to addressing the problem or frequency of severe storms increasing and we can double fortunate click the safety that is posed by the storms. long-term safety must be her focus of where to protect our natural environment and the safety of our citizens. >> thank you so much, senator. while senator vitter is here, she and i discussed bringing the bill forward within the first 30 days. that is our goal. so we really are going to work and we've been working on this so we don't waste any time given what we see.
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were going to have a really strong partnership on this. so were going to go to senator lautenberg for 10 minutes then senator whitehouse and governor gillibrand. >> thank you very much, madam chairman. i think the fact that we are bringing notice about her particular situation, but highlighting the fact that across this country there is no state spared and the more we get the word out to get an understanding of this thing in the more we cooperate one with another in the congress, the better chance we have to preempt the damage resulting from these storms and making life a lot easier, better and safer. and spoken on the senate floor before the committee to outline
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what happens in my home state of new jersey brought on basic or storm sandy. the total of the storm, roughly 8 million households throughout the power in the storm, including more than 2.5 million in my state alone. fema estimates the total number of damage to nearly seven the 2000. restaurants, public buildings and it's pretty hard to imagine what life is like when you are home -- when your home is gone. it's not just the physical possessions. it's the memories, memorabilia, history of the house. imagine these things disappearing in front of you. things which represents your aspirations, reduced arrival.
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imagine having to evacuate and coming home to find that the mayor. the place where you base your children created so many memories. that's the reality for far too many natures since. so i say move forward, we must make sure when the next storm strikes it doesn't happen again. madam chairman, thank you for your leadership on this issue. we learned a valuable lesson, but we learned that the hardest way. when we don't invest in infrastructure, within our communities and residents engraved danger and that's why in the wake of the storm we work not only to recover, but to build so we are better prepared for the next storm. today is that you take the opportunity to highlight areas
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that were vulnerable before the storm. flood control projects, water infrastructure, transportation system and of course sites which unfortunately has the largest number. i'll begin with the storm surge destroyed neighborhoods, displaced families. we found that even among the damage, however, there is a silver lining that points to what we can do to devote resources now and into the future replenishment. we been shaded about that over the years. just be a more. this is part of nature's balance
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but the tunes are in place, the damage is substantially less and it's quite an awakening. the federal government has invested that these and other infrastructure in storms and flooding. in new jersey, the beaches are our levees. they have critical buffer zones that protect communities from flooding and replenishment projects brought in to widen existing beaches in order to provide better protection against storm surges. up and down the jersey coast, we saw that that are built sub by the army for replacement project still standing after the storm come at even nearby homes without projects were totally destroyed.
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we see the stark contrast on the barrier island that we have in new jersey in long beach island. long beach island community didn't have an army corps project. we see this picture. the projects when you look at this picture -- thank you salvific beach projects. on this barrier island communities of long beach island. see how well they withstood the storm. here's where the storm lost its fury much lower than the houses were located. the picture shows how the dune
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was instruct kids who could absorb and protect the homes and neighborhoods behind it. overall, new jersey's initial s. event is at least $29 billion expected to rise and our governor did a wonderful job in the management of this crisis. rot in additional costs that they're still uncovering. so will be higher than that. we could've avoided some of the damage if we had tested in advance. army corps beach projects by preventing the damage that seem to was cleaning up at a fraction of the cost. so i am pleased that chairman baucus included a program that i requested to allow new projects to deconstruct the following a
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natural disaster. i intend to work with the chairman to encourage the core to rebuild damaged beaches, dams, levees, better than before as opposed to the current practice is merely repairing or rehabilitating project. during sandy, we also saw outdated water infrastructure the two failures such as wastewater treatment facilities, releasing millions of gallons of sewage as a result. the infrastructure in its entirety has to be in concert with what we now know and can do in advance of these tragedies. although the sewage has now been contained -- spill has now been contained, the fact this
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happened in the first play shows the vulnerability of our infrastructure and the urgent need to rebuild bigger and stronger in bad need of permanent and repair must get a significant investment moving forward. our transportation network suffered unprecedented damages. highways, roads. the storm covered every thing. the third with debris, it carries thousands of vehicles to each day from new jersey in new york city was flooded. it's an important part of our culture in that region. the highway transit system in new jersey and then creating delays for miles.
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this maneuver during the storm, it has an impact anyone who rides the rails for uses projects come from our port. i'm going to be working with this committee to rebuild transportation infrastructure to make it stronger and more resilient. in at least two cases, damaged the superfund sites. the potential releases of toxic pollution into the environment. they cannot do a thorough investigation of the storms in fact on sites throughout the region. today i'm introducing a superfund emergency response act which requires epa to perform an assessment of superfund site
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following any natural disaster and allows congress to appropriate emergency funding to remediate any damage. the bill will require epa to better protect on-site that are vulnerable to disaster. we've got to remember the super storm sandy in this changing climate are reluctant to your, to look at the changes in global temperature is very difficult to understand. the intensity, chairman more and more common by the opportunity in this community to make sure the northeast recovers every build just that way.
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all of them have taken an interest here, glad to share what we learn. >> senator come the legislation you describe is very appropriate. i'm looking forward to reading the details. senator whitehouse. >> thank you, madam chair. i'll be brief army colleagues. i had a chance to make a sailor statement, so i don't want to be too redundant. hurricane cindy have rhode island hired. the 9.5-foot crest at fox point, title christ was the fifth highest ever on record and we had 130,000 homes and businesses this power, which is a sick chicken portion of the state of 1 billion people. the southern coast of rhode island was hit the hardest. the westerly coast you can see
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how the hotels and restaurants along the shore were really clobbered by this. i can remember walking around and coming up out of the beach. jalopies commit the poster closer the 1930s and 1940s had been buried decades ago to hold the beach intact and now for the first time since then, the tearing up of the beaches has exposed by cold cadavers from a horror movie coming out to beach. it's good to the next one. this is the atlantic avenue that goes along the sand from on the disturbance pilot at chest height and we're still literally taking out from the sand. the damage went into neighborhoods behind this commercial street, several blocks back and it's a very considerable blow.
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a lot of these businesses are seasonal businesses in this. there is fantastic about getting back and getting up and running. the local chamber of commerce is taken up local collections to help their business colleagues get back in operation in time for next summer season. we hope we will create robust tourist with a set of restored beaches. it is going to take some home. looks good and the next one. this is further east at carpenter's speech, where these houses have gone right into the water. they may not look like very big houses, the senator about berg spoke about memories very big houses, the senator about berg spoke about memories is their houses families the senator about berg spoke about memories is their houses families have had returned for generations. this is a very tight summer community, so the emotional blow in addition to the financial and physical one is really very
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considerable. the gentleman here in the green jacket to some unfamiliar to this committee. as governor links chiefly who was with me, touring the damage. the lady who owns this house right here that he is looking into told me when she was a child, their house had a big lawn and then there was a roadway and then there was a parking lot and then there was a beach. the beach for so long she can remember having to hustle across because the hot sand putting her little feet, rushing to get to the water but it was a long haul. there's an enormous amount of beachfront boss that it's a systemic problem in the northeast and rhode island. we also toured an iconic restaurant out of the water at the point called the coast guard
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house. it was washed right through and structurally appears to be sound, but it will need a complete rebuild. i know the owner to make of being operations for the year's party. sewall, the sidewalk is big for rhode island because we have tourism generated more than $2.3 billion. that's a rhode island power. 5% of the gross state product is tourism related. it's our fourth largest industry in 2009 supported within 60,000 jobs. the economic effect is very considerable. i am delighted the chairman has held these hearings because it is important there be two key points drawn from it. when is there is a new normal of new extremes we have to be prepared for it.
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the infrastructure for the past is no longer adequate for the new normal of new extremes we are now facing. the reason we have this new normal of new extremes is because global climate change is happening and it's real. we've tolerated the deniers for far too long in this body. the public is with us. the science is clear. national security establishments all know that this is real. there is a rearguard action in this building but i polluters to try to prevent us in taking action on this. we have to face the fact that deniers are wrong. they are just dead wrong. whatever motivations may be, they are wrong and we have to deal with that and i think some of the courtesy we've given to one another collegially really have to yield to the fact that some of the things said in the
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senate and equitably in this committee chamber just plain wrong. sandy shows the price of not being attentive to these facts in a thank you for your leadership, madam chair. >> senator, i want to thank you for your remarks. i feel, as you do, that the clock is ticking and hurricane sandy has shown us all what the scientist sitting right in this room today i got the goupil all were sitting right there and told us exactly what would happen and it's all happening. you can close your eyes and cover your ears and put a pillow over your head, but anyone with a heart beat and he pulls can tell that things are changing. and you are right and we are going to do everything we can do. to make progress. how much you make one point. president obama's policy below
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for the next many years. the amazing work you did with all of us on fuel economy standards and enforcing the clean their act, which i just want to say unfortunately those two are not candidate dress. if they were here, i would address them. colleagues here and others stopped many who try to roll back the clean air act as it pertained to missions coming from utility and other polluters. i was critical because we want to be much more direct. i don't speak for anybody else on how we approach this. i just feel people have to understand that the promise that we made and we have initial
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studies show the progress we've made only because we fight so hard rolling back of my colleagues on the other side but the environmental writer after environmental writer. and if they don't see from superstore and sandy, the future if we just go along, i am very disturbed for our children and our grandchildren. i just want to thank you, senator whitehouse for your amazing leadership day after day. people don't know every time they see me. i so agree with you and with your determination. rhode island is very determined. they have a great senator who is determined and i know we will make more progress. >> thank you, madam chair. >> i just add something u.s.
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senator whitehouse said. we hauled out photographs of the national wildlife refuge. we are looking to the west here. it used to be a freshwater wetland refuge. now it's largely the bottom part is the delaware bay. there is a road in the top corner that comes west to east to delaware bay. that road is under water quite a bit of the time now. but he used to be you could drive towards the delaware bay and as you've got to the bank, there's a parking lot where people can park cars or trucks or whatever. there's no parking lot.
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he couldn't stand they are to the east of the parking lot used to be, to the right about 1:00 you can see a concrete rockers sticking up out of the water. that concrete bunker used to be 500 feet west. used to be 500 feet west. you hurt me here with tongue-in-cheek with stephen stills who want that something is happening here. but it is exact ways that clear. my hope is that others will see that, too. >> thank you him so much. it will cause senator gillibrand. we are so happy senator whitehouse just opened the door and were just thrilled that you are here. senator gillibrand, you and i talked on the phone and i know
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the person you are carrying along with all my colleagues here. i just want to say that the citizens of new york are so lucky to have you been senator schumer's another's carrying the weight of superstore and sandy so we can fix this and is the mitigation we don't see this again. >> thank you, madam chairwoman for holding this hearing today. i can't tell you how important it is for the congress to understand the depth and breadth of this storm and what impact it had. i also appreciate the kind words and your call in the middle of the storm giving your condolences for the dems and families suffering. i also want to thank my colleagues appearing before this panel later in this hearing. senator schumer will comment has been a stalwart advocate for new
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york and the rest of our delegation as well. i want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to tell the story of what happened to her families in new york. over a month ago, superstrength sandy ravage the northeast that left a path of destruction that cut across the most densely populated region of the country. unimaginably altering lives of tens of millions of people. more than 40 new yorkers died. millions more were left with significant damage to their homes and neighborhoods. now, as new yorkers we've been reading the stories, but the rest of washington, stories of heartbreak are unimaginable. the most heartbreaking story was when i went to staten island and we -- we met with first
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responders whose job was to find two children. what happened in this case was a mother was worried because she had lost power and her husband told her to find a different place to stay with the children and urged her to go to brooklyn to see her mother. she took the children in the car. would have been staten island as the storm surge was so severe. a 10-foot wave came across the road she took her children out of the car, tried to get to higher land and they were taken from her arms. these children were two years old and four years old and the mother could do nothing because the storm is so strong. she is just one story of many families who lost their lives because of the storm. i can tell you our mayor and governor worked so hard to evacuate families.
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they evacuated families all across new york and that's one of the reasons why the lost life was as low as it was. for each of these lives that were lost, there are many more. another story that, you know, you think you have a safe place to live. some westchester county, a family had their son at home safe. he had a friend over to help them weather the storm. a tree crashed on the home and the two boys were killed, a lebanon 13. some elderly couples just couldn't leave in time. an elderly couple in staten island crowned with the rising tide couldn't escape in time. these are just a small number of the horrible stories that took the lives of new yorkers and i
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spent a lot of time as has senator schumer and delegation visiting with family and helping them begin to piece their lives together. it has affected communities all across new york. each of the five boroughs for a fact day. the hudson valley, long island, to devastation that came across a huge area and we'll hear from our delegation in new jersey as well. so as we begin to rebuild, folks are looking to washington or how can you help us? i can tell you, we must hope the families begin to rebuild. the devastation is so severe. for new york families, lives have been lost and homes are destroyed, businesses are in rebel and families have been cut off from basic services. one of the big stories across new york was how many families
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were without electricity for so long, for weeks. some still don't have electricity and obviously as the cold of winter continues to come in, we are worried about their safety. but amid this destruction, have also had the blessing to see what is best about new york. new yorkers have very strong. they are extremely resilient. communities have come together to rebuild. i can't tell you how many friends i saw called another friend's guiding basements, play not destroy property, having all the longings in the front of their homes. but with these friends and community members they were giving hope to families who have lost everything. so far we've had claims for 305,000 homes that have been seriously damaged or destroyed. within 265,000 businesses have been impacted. dozens of new yorkers still
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homeless. in the immediate aftermath of the storm, we had 2 million door yorkers this power and because some families home boilers were destroyed or left to close the sense to start, we still have many come in many homes that do not have electricity today. our governor has estimated it would be about $32.8 billion to begin to rebuild new york and that's just for new york crude that's not including billions for new jersey and other states. i'm going to take you through a couple other places around the state. as you can see in this neighborhood, the whole neighborhood was destroyed by fire. it is absolutely devastating. a member of our congressional delegation's homes was raised by fire. 111 homes were destroyed in this project are fire and fled. the entire community will have to be rebuilt.
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since this committee is so relevant for transportation, i went to go through specifically said transportation infrastructure since i think the committee will be most impact did by that request. this is a photo of the south ferry subway station. you can see the water is not very clear, but it's literally can you can see the water is not very clear, but it's literally can and the escalators go down is not very clear, but it's literally can and the escalators go down into water. the next picture is of the tunnel. the whole tunnel up to the top. this is a picture of a royale fully washed away in westchester. the water just literally the soul tracks off it pairing. now, one of our major areas of jurisdiction is the army corps
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of engineers and they will play a major role in reconstruction of new york for detection systems. senator schumer will talk more about this, but we've already given them a list of policies they just never begun. sunday started but never completed and that's almost a billion dollars worth of army corps projects. those are the ones we know we can do. they party been studied and that the most urgent issues. i just want to conclude by reiterating my colleagues in the congress, how important meeting the needs of these families and businesses is. one of the rules of the federal government is to keep people safe. and when lives are so destroyed, when communities fly in rebel, when families don't know how to begin to reap the, that's rather
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than the federal government makes a difference. so i just went to urge my colleagues to open their hearts, find goodwill and help restore and rebuild new york. thank you, madam chairwoman. >> senator, let me just say, you have given us the most touching testimony. i thank you because you allowed your emotion to come to the surface. you put an amazing human face on this super storm and we have a lot of work to do and i want to thank you so much. how many times have you run in four years? twice in four years. so now you have some time to devote, full-time to this task and i'm so pleased you are with us on this committee. i'm going to call and senator
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reid and senator schumer and i want to tell them what we did in the opening since we started about a half-hour -- no no, an hour ago. we heard from delaware, maryland, senator whitehouse, we heard from senator lott byrd and now from senator gillibrand. with so many people affected. the purpose of days very import. today is for history, to record this historic storm. i personally believe it will be a turning point. i hope it will be a turning point here in our fight to address climate change. in a way that protects our people. so we are going to have this record. we will be part of this record. i look at all of you as my eyes
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and ears. i did speak with senator gillibrand and schumer during this devastating event. because my heart aches for the people they are. i've gone through so many disasters in my state, earthquakes, fires, floods, droughts, everything. i know it is so difficult to wrap your arms around it. the one thing senator schumer said to me and has continued to say is how amazing this disaster was. it's hard to wrap your arms around, but we will. the second reason for this eeriness for legislative purposes. we are about to pick up a water resource bill and a lot of you know it's been a while since we've had one. senator victor and i will work together. he's very encouraging about this bill. so i think we're going to work across party lines.
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so with that, electric and welcome you welcome you: senator reid. you each have 10 minutes to say what is in your heart, which you want history to it what about the storm. >> thank you, madam chairwoman are your kind invitation to testify today and for your incredible leadership on this issue. i went to recognize my colleague, senator whitehouse has been such a powerful for force supplementing with hurricane cindy but other issues. later today will hear from representatives landrieu has been actively engaged in weathering the storm entailing with the aftereffects. rhode island suffered significant damage. a major disaster was declared in four perfect counties, south coast, which includes westerly, charlestown pounded heavily over several homes uprooted, james obliterated. sandra striven back in the
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coastal ponds. through homes onto local roadways exposing septic tanks, other utilities that of course the army corps ocean data system recorded 47 feet. the island sustains severe road damage in middletown, rhode island and the national wildlife refuge and the treacherous by receive sustained damage isolated and can't be used because the one road access obliterated. despite the damage we know the outcome could have been far worse. our sympathies go to the families of the northeast so eloquently described by senator schumer who lost loved ones coming to sustain devastating damage and are still recovering. our hearts literally go out to
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their representatives doing so much to help them. in rhode island and elsewhere throughout the region, we are able to limit the losses because we have time to prepare. i want to thank the national weather service, which produced accurate forecasts and deeply in our several of advance warning you want to to commend rhode island emergency management led by general kevin at brighton local emergency trainers were the work they did in warning the public in if you read. of high risk. i want to commend the utility for the planning and response. they did an extraordinary job with crews already assembled before the storm. throughout the response, support has been exemplary. whenever the state asks for an emergency or disaster declaration, president obama provided within hours of the request. agencies were also quick to
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respond to intimidate the disaster comes secretary widowhood pretty $3 million to open resinous state. i would note that this is the third major disaster that has had rhode island, reflectiveness climate dignity, which is unusual and i don't think would dissipate. that hurricanes and 2011, 2012 and 2010. each disasters affected the majority if not the tigers day. the size and frequency cup with a very harsh economic and fiscal climate of the state and it made it very challenging for rhode island to fund the recovery they must fund. for this reason, relief in the form of additional funding for disaster and economic development administration grants as well as flexibility for the masses and have been import and will be again. porton. in addition, resources for the department of transportation relief program will be essential
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to fully restore the roads in damages. as soon as her recovery to long-term mitigation, we should be mindful of impacts and resiliency of our coasts and impacts of sea level and global warming. i believe addressing the challenge to require participation, u.s. geologic survey's, fema and so many other agencies. i think the chair managed to raise the right issue. you should be a turning point to do with these issues on a comprehensive basis, not on a particular race basis. there are smaller measures that could be taken as well. in particular we should not ignore the army corps is continuing authorities program as part of the response. this includes section 103, small beach erosion. fiction to a five-foot controlled in section two of environmental restoration.
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for states and communities with limited resources, smaller scale projects can be enormously beneficial and effective, particularly after disasters. i appreciate the steps taken for water resources development act to utilize authority for post-disaster assessment projects. i also want to acknowledge the efforts to increase the course limitations of cap authorities. these are positive measures we should work on. before i conclude, i want to note the role in limiting damage. we often overlook prudent steps that are taken before the payoff significantly. first, the army corps of engineers project was built about 45 years ago to protect the city of providence and storm surge like those that overwhelm provinces. the hurricane of 38 and carolyn and 54. the army chorus made significant investments to modernize the barrier, ensuring its been able to operate in events like sandy
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and irene for regular operations and maintenance funding, the resources on the recovery act hope rehabilitation. this is important in ensuring we continue to operate, literally without intervention, we would have felt very vulnerable to the province of catastrophic effects. second on a smaller scale, rhode island is part of the flood control project by eda and also part of the emergency supplemental bill of 2010, helped observe damages otherwise areas of the town would've been inundated as they are in every storm. even minor storms. i hope we follow through with the work of this committee to authorize and give direction to not only for mediation response, but long term protection and restoration of our coastal waters in coastal areas.
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again, thank you, chairwoman boxer for which he done this morning and what you will do. once again, i can only say to senator gillibrand, menendez, senator lott or 10 others, our prayers are with you and your constituents. >> senator, thank you so much good will work with the u.s. to get this to the floor. senator schumer, we are so honored to have you here as well and should be part of this record. so please can you recognize for 10 minutes followed by senator s. >> first, madam chair, let me thank you so much for having us here and, for your caring and compassion. ..
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a little bit of a knot in my stomach thinking about what just happened. and it is devastating. the first day after the storm i flew in a helicopter with the
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governor. you can see the breath of -- the breadth of the damage. so wide. there is some much. this island, l.i. as 7 million people. many of them live right on the south shore. breezy point to long beach, all the way of. and you saw how broad a was. and then with that -- the two weeks as recently as monday before we came down here we are touring the areas. and you see the depth of it. i was on staten island monday. leader of the marine corps tried to help veterans. he pulled me aside and said, lost my home. i don't know where to go what to do. there are tears in his eyes. a tough, grizzled vet. we went to elderly women, poor
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women. the 18th floor, stuck for two weeks. no elevators, the telephone, no cellphone, no electricity, no food, though practical things. he looked at manhattan over here . excuse numbers, 20 million square feet of office buildings out of commission. our hospital, one of the leading teaching house was in the world. and why you. they never expected water to be 14 feet higher than it has ever been, a billion dollars. all their equipment in the basement. that is where there were told to put it. kent scans and radio tomography and all this stuff. it has to be very balanced. so they tell them, put it in the basement. all flooded. close to a billion dollars in machinery gone. while. and i could go on and on and on.
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but if we need help. i really want to thank you for having this hearing. the storm was an unfortunate like a call, not only to new york and the neighboring states but to the country and even the world about what we must do to protect our legion, fortified coastlines, storm surge activity simply put, new york has no choice. we must simultaneously adapt and fortify our coastline to protect against future storms. waterfront city where waterfronts. people forget that. but we are basically the whole southern area of new york is three islands, ireland, s.i., and manhattan. on those three islands are close to 10 million people, more than most dates. and it we are connected by a
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vast array of hundred year old towels and bridges that were built long before the requirements and struggle warming was in anybody's mind. so most of our infrastructure has been built without the necessary flow projections in their design. sandy reminded us of a very stark reality. we can either invest now or we will pay later. i would argue that a refusal to investors earlier in both dealing with some of these specific problems but also in preventing climate change, paying layer in a sense. after touring the damage to the past four weeks we're paying leonard. we will keep paying later. lower manhattan was blacked out for days. brooklyn battery tunnel, longest
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tunnel, close of 1 million -- 100 million gallons of water and it. totally flooded from one end to the other. unbelievable. who would've thought it. southern shore of staten island, rockaways battered. long beach. 35,000 people, every house flooded. seagate 8,000 people. every house flooded. the rockaways, 100,000 people, most homes flooded. the flooding came in not only from the ocean side, but the bay side. i live five or six blocks from the ocean. belle harbor it came both ways and met in the middle and many other places as well. so huge, and to compare it to katrina, katrina loss more lives. we lost too many lives, but not close to katrina. in other ways is much more devastating. right now in new york 305,000 homes are seriously damaged or gone.
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the pictures of some of them that i just on my fire because the water systems failed and the wind, the electrical systems- shorted. fire, wind. and the -- so 305,000 homes seriously damaged argon. just in new york up to now they're going to be more that we will learn about because the flooding is still there and loss of the basements, low-lying houses. 214,000 total homes god internet the same level of damage. businesses, 265,000, just the york. they talked about new jersey, similar levels of damage. in to train 18,000. because of the density of the population it is a much greater economic impact on our region and the nation than otherwise. so despite all this pain we
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can't fault those suits him a force for building this metropolis without adequate blood protections. the 500 your flaws or rare events. much is made about what freud projections new york peneus i commend my colleagues in government and academia for having the courage to think s.i. the box and advocate for the future new york. some preliminary researchers suggested that steps like system of flood gates in new york harbor. expensive but feasible alternative. others are pushing for a retreat from the coastline. but a retreat is not just a couple of hundred houses.
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hundreds of thousands of people. that is a huge demographic anthropological sociological and economic change. you have to be careful before you quickly advocate that. some members of this committee and say we should not be victims of these two choices only which may be extreme. today and recommending a comprehensive federal approach to protecting new york's coastline well into the future. it consists of three basic principles, protect ourselves in the future, accelerate, study, and streamline and then build. we can no longer be burdened by rules that were written before massive floods are common and the price system was created before storms of the century happen every ten years. first we must fast track and build projects that congress has already authorized and that the corps has studied it fortunately there are a bunch of these
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projects. they're noted here. can you see this? holder the bull. these are seven projects already studied and already authorized. some of them were rejected by the local communities. long beach, 35,000 people, none of whom cells were unaffected. there were going to build tens. a small group of some home owners objected, and it did not do it. this proposal is there, the study is there. spoken to the elected officials and city managers. there ready to go. all we need is funding. already authorized. and there are other projects as well. cells are s.i. and rockaway. so this concept referred to accelerate to construction is what new york news now. we estimate the amount of money is about $502 billion for these seven projects. no red tape, no study. it has been studied.
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community support in every one of them. we will put that in the supplemental bill, but obviously her committee will review. why do we needed now? because in some of our most badly damaged areas, south shore, s.i., because suffolk county, you have no protection. a minor storm could come flood again. we have to move quickly. in some cases they wanted to build seawalls, some rock armor, some defense systems. along the coast like bees as s.i. where search is over 10 feet came in. and in other coastal areas, coney island, rockaways, some of the projects were partially built but then there was no funding, and that ended. now, here is the good news. we know from sandy that many places that had engineering projections that the army corps had designed to ferret much, much better. point lookout right here did
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much better than the neighboring areas because they actually had army corps built-in protections. the same, i am told, in parts of new jersey. we have requested the army corps to accelerate. a comprehensive party must commence immediately. were asking that, the president to put that in the supplemental legislation he will introduce early next week.
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many ideas out there. third, we must reform the federal flood protection process that the army corps currently operates. let me be blunt. process in many places in many ways is badly broken. projects take years and decades. of a mound of red tape, a very active in this area. he has been a vocal proponent for a leaner, more efficient army corps. we look to work with you and him to move forward. so if we can do these things we can protect new york from future devastating storms. we can protect the jersey as well, and we work with them on that. i hope that the committee will look favorably on our accelerate steady and streamline proposal. i think the chair. >> i want to mention that everything that you said is going to be in one way or another part of our bill. so as we work we will consult
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with all of you because you know we don't have any earmarks any more. you all know that. let me just say for the tenth time, i think that was ridiculous so-called reform. what it means is that we have a note -- if anything of getting out of this listening to all of you is, you know every corner and every nook and cranny with the problem occurred. unfortunately because there is no more earmarks we have to leave it up to the administration. however, something you said is important. a lot of the projects that have not come forward have engineers' reports, many are authorized and will be able without naming the projects to move those for which is very important.
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we have a new draft proposal to respond to these extreme weather events rebuilding in mitigating future storms. we just cannot afford to have this kind of flag. so i want to thank you so much. i want to say that were doing here, were making a historic record of the storm. because personally i think it's a turning point in our approach to a climate change. i hope it is. i'm going to make sure all of you have books of this record today. that's how important i think it is. you are the eye witnesses. you represent the people who
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can't have millions of people here testifying. but your testimony is so critical, and you will be part of this record. also using this hearing as a way to finalize our bill which will be coming for a very early in the next session. senator menendez, welcome. you have ten minutes. we are very happy that you can take the time to be here. >> madam chair, first of all, thank you for your personal expressions of concern soon after the storm. i appreciated. the people of my state. thank you for your lead as well as senator and often other distinguished members of the committee for giving us a forum to explain just how devastating superstars and was to our region and to highlight the help that we need to rebuild. new jersey was at the epicenter of the storms and three and the
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powerful storm surge overwhelmed our state and their results is damaged on a massive scale. and as someone who has lived in new jersey his entire life, i have never seen the devastation that sandy brought us. the numbers are pretty staggering across the region. in new jersey we lost 39 people's lives to the storm. based on preliminary, and i emphasize that, preliminary fema estimates there are over 231,000 applications for homes and businesses in new jersey that were damaged, but we certainly expect that the numbers will surge much higher. over half of the state households lost power. many for extended time. some still today. the storm was the largest mass transit disaster in our nation's history.
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four out of ten of the nation's transit riders had their commutes disrupted by the storm. many still today. new jersey transit alone had dozens of locomotives and rail cars damaged in the flooding and miles and miles of tracks damage to. the preliminary damage estimate provided by the state is now up to $36 billion in damage. everyone expects that number to rise. those are the numbers, and in one way they may be a way to quantify the damage, but they fail to pay to picture of what we have seen throughout the state. the level of destruction that faces the many thousands of displaced people who find themselves homeless and with basically nothing left from their homes compositions, lifetime keepsakes gone. entire neighborhoods whose several generations of families
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lived in a close-knit communities. thousands of decades-old small businesses ruined, owners i'm sure that there will have the ability or means to rebuild. we are getting more damage numbers, but the human toll is truly in tokyo. the sheer scope of the damage is also difficult to phantom. i have seen it from the year, water, flood. the breadth and scope of it, hosted the president and vice president and cabinet officials. we appreciate the administration's many visits to get a sense of it, but my staff has compiled some sense of it. this is the bridge which crosses the day. as you can see, and the picture the storm surge ripped the gas rates through. amazingly this bridge can be repaired, but it is obvious in this picture many of the surrounding homes were lost and part of the highway will need to be rebuilt to.
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on a boat tour of the area i saw the damage from myself and took this picture of a house floating down the river. it is one of many. this is a shipping container and a large pleasure boat tossed onto the more in rail bridge on the north jersey coastline along with tons of debris. a major rail intersection that moves so many managers across the state. took a lot of work to restore service on new jersey transit which suffered disruptions on every rail line. this is only by way of example. even today the port authority terminal at hoboken is inoperable and will not be back on line for some time. this is a live video of what took place on anything. the port authority cameras giving you a sense of the flooding that took place in the terminal.
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and this gives you a sense of how deep the flooding took place. this is as you go right into the tracks, level of flooding that was taking place. and those are the terminals where you would obviously be boarding a train into new york city or along the coast. tens of thousands still cannot use the terminal. it in addition to transportation damage, many small businesses in new jersey are facing the possibility of it going out of business. some were hit with thousands of dollars in lost business, while others saw their entire inventory destroyed. interestingly enough i had the visit from the head of the federally qualified health centers and our state. there are 20. they suffered as well because they had time in which they were closed, and so the revenue stream for them during this time
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has affected them. many of them, of course, were damaged as well. why the -- while the sba has low-interest loan pro grams which are pretty close to commercial rights to that, that is not going to help the hardest hit businesses. these entrepreneurs fuel our economy and have been hit with a one-two punch. the recession and now as we are beginning to recover and they were seeing the light of the tunnel, the tunnel gets flooded with a debilitating storm. whether it is through flexibility in the community development block grant program which you have a history of with hurricane katrina or a near disaster recovery block grants or through more flexible sba or other programs, we should provide programs to get small businesses back on their feet. this will not only help the small business owners, but it will keep the workers on the job, bring back tax revenue for local governments to repair, rebuild, and restore a sense of
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normalcy. we are already over 9 percent unemployment before the storm. if history teaches us anything from hurricane to train it is that unemployment dramatically rose subsequent. that is a big challenge. to economically rebuild new jersey we also need to rebuild the jersey shore. and that is a $38 billion tourism economy in our state. and the jersey shore is not just about summer homes. sometimes, you know, a huge misconception. it has been transformed into year-round communities. the next two slides show the importance of some of what senator schumer was talking about. stockton college did a study of the army corps speech engineering programs before and after the storm. what it found was unambiguous. where the army corps was able to complete a beach engineered project, the defense held.
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the damage to communities behind the project was either negligible or manageable. so here is a before and after photo at surf city which received beach engineering in 2007 as part of the u.s. army corps long beach island shore restoration project. you can see that despite the damage to the din it held. it saved lives. it saved property. it saved money. it made sense. alternatively here is a photo of another part of what beach island that unfortunately did not have similar protections. and it may not appear to the obvious damage, but when the surge came and washed away the undeveloped dune and flooded homes this year along the beach it pushed extraordinary amounts of sands into the neighborhood covering the street and the entire area, and i would like to commend -- submit a study for the record. we desperately need to provide the army corps the funding needs
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to do not beach replenishment. this is about engineer beaches that saved lives, saved money, and stop us from repetitive loss our existing defenses, it is almost as if your personally el and you're a mean system, right now the urgency of now is critical because if we get a northeaster based upon what we have suffered after hurricane super storm sandy then the effects would be devastating to us. our existing defenses have been greatly weakened, and if a powerful nor'easter its dangers agree would seek damages and an unbelievable scale. i just want to talk briefly as part of one of the great industries of our state, that fishing industry, reports we have gotten about the damage to commercial fishing industries have been devastating. long stretches of shore where every marina dock and slip has been destroyed. the boats washed on shore.
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here at white is marina in key port one example of how the boats were tossed into surrounding buildings, they lost or 5,000 feet of dock space including electrical systems, cat walks, and gas lines. so the need is enormous and the federal government needs to help us rebuild we need help to make sure that we are stronger soap that we don't have this type of devastation again. i want to close with just in the midst of all of this incredible darkness, their resiliency in the light that sometimes comes in the midst of such a diversity , there are so many stories, the story of a young woman in hoboken who lived in an apartment to lost everything and instead of going ahead and thinking about my tomorrow she spent the better part of the week at our shelter helping everybody else even though she had nothing to go back to.
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they lost power along with everybody else for over a week. they were closed. today they got power back in may $27 despite the fact that this is the busiest of the year for them. despite their own struggles they wanted to help others. when they heard that the hoboken homeless shelter was out of power and needed candles and found that the shelter had only one candle with which to like the whole process and then jeff donated hundreds of dollars worth of campbell's to help them out and out there raising more funds for the shelter. this is the type of state. just as i personally since i have been here have stood with the people of the gulf coast or
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the people of joplin misery or after a tornado ravage the community. it's who we are, what we do is a country, and it's what truly gives the meeting to the united states of america. thank you. >> thank you so much. all of our speakers have been extraordinary, and i no -- i am going to, with your permission, include a lot of these photographs in our records. okay. okay. and our last senator to speak before we head to our house colleagues will be senator blumenthal from connecticut. we are so delighted that you could be here. go right ahead. >> thank you very much. i want to thank you and ranking member and half for today's hearing. my colleagues to have stated so eloquently what happened in new york and new jersey, connecticut
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, share their faith although the lack -- national media coverage may give the impression that connecticut's damage was more a footnote to the main story. in fact, the destruction and damage in connecticut was every bit as real, and the pockets of destruction as pervasive as elsewhere, and i think many of the lessons learned the you heard here form a pattern that we need to invest now or pay later. there are measures that we can take now to minimize the damage in the future, and we cannot be penny wise to avoid those measures going forward, and the other lesson that i think it's striking here is that our efforts have to be complementary, not competitive. we are mutually supportive in this effort. i have been asked repeatedly, argue in competition with new jersey and new york?
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the answer is emphatically now. we are mutually supportive and reinforcing as we are to responses that have been done to other disasters, whether they have been hurricanes or tornadoes or earthquakes around the country. we are united, as a united states of america as senator menendez has said. hurricane azande's scale and scope of destruction made it one of the largest national disasters to affect our nation leaving millions of people in the tristate region without homes or electricity and costing tens of billions of dollars in damages to governments, businesses, and residence. the sweat -- the suite of destruction and human impact and financial impact was simply staggering, and our response now has to match. we need to think big and act paid with urgency and division
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right away. short term. we must redouble our efforts to reduce the personal cost and property damage of the storm and other storms and long review the path toward enlightened protection and preparation must include infrastructure improvements. m.a.c. massive, but they are well needed and deserved such as has been done with stanford, connecticut floodgate repairs, steps to stop flooding on the plus atomic river and electricity security measures such as the establishment of micrograms and increased availability of generators for various public and private facilities, especially for seniors prices and housing. in connecticut disasters like hurricane sandy are quickly becoming the normal. the storm is the fourth major disaster for the state of
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connecticut in the past 19 months. record snowfall in january of last year, 2011 to mike caused buildings to collapse. as spring connecticut, destructive floods, especially on the housatonic river resulting from melting slope to the snow and tropical storm size rainfall. later tropical storm irene and then a highly unusual october snowstorm caused power outages that took more than a week to repair. and most recently seen the hit coastal towns with tropical storm force. combined with high tide and a full moon, when then surges producing a record high storm levels in the seas in the the surrounding the shores and inland towns experiencing significant widespread averages.
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and i want to thank the committee for this personal insight enabling us to provide personal history. i was out in the storm actually experiencing its ferocity and force as i visited many of the operation centers and then afterward touring the state. by land, air, sea, as my colleagues have done. most recently earlier this week with the administrator of fema and saw in the immediate aftermath as well as during the storms, the personal courage of our emergency responders, the city fire department that performed 13 water rescues, the national guard supported 73 assistance missions. our governor responding with his excellent lead. eighteen state agencies. the red cross all coming together, including your utility
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linesman and repair crews have worked tirelessly to restore critical of electric power to homes and businesses. and yet i want to make clear that utility workers on the ground and in the field were once again heroes, but the utility managers -- management, the overall storm response was regrettably lacking in some regions, although better than last year. still inadequate in key respects and areas. my many conversations with elected officials around the state indicate clearly that utilities' need to better communicate with local authorities on location and allocation of repair and tree removal crews in their communities. too often municipal leaders and emergency response crews were left in the dark, both figuratively and as early. and the utilities in addition have to follow more closely.
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the municipal electric utility model and provide at least one electricity restoration crew to each town working with apple that town's public-works department to remove live wires and allow the reopening of roads . they have to provide additional resources to restore electricity to the most critical areas of every town which local officials know best. i want to compliment president obama and the response of the federal government for being quick and decisive and personal visits by the secretary of homeland security as well as the demonstrators, extremely important calling attention and gathering information so that the federal government could assist very directly and immediately in this disaster recovery. the total amount of damages is very preliminary, but dramatic.
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public infrastructure needs are in the tens of millions, and these estimates to not even take into account the possible public infrastructure damage that fema may be unable to reimburse to to the lack of flexibility within the hazard mitigation program. we build our infrastructure to 100 years storm levels. unfortunately, the 100 your storm seems to be happening about every year. then we have to be prepared for this normal by ardent critical infrastructure and taking the time and is spending the money to conduct the infrastructure assessment that senator schumer spoke about doing. this type of study and streamlined approach is absolutely what needs to be done and as we continue to fund infrastructure improvements, the federal government should consider how such improvements may mitigate future water-related damages and future
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taxpayer costs for restoration. one point here is that we continue to encourage transmission line redundancy and strengthening, but it should also consider similar initiatives for local backup power sources. i note that new england has just applied for a 9% increase in its budget. the regional transmission authority should devote attention td needs in this area and i question whether this 9 percent budget request is justified and deserves certainly serious petition which i believe the federal agency should give it. in response to mounting advocacy, including my own, medicaid is investing in microbrewed were distributed generation allowing communities to generate electricity from many small sources instead of
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just a few big ones. and these micro grids offer an anecdote to mess blackouts' after storms, and i am hoping that both can be positive and active partners in the promotion of microbrewed. generators for senior senators -- senior citizen facilities have to be considered. i encountered a similar problem. these kinds of microbrewed and electricity restoration efforts are necessary to meet the needs of our dollar will population and, again, work with utilities to provide incentives and even mandates for mobile generators that can be transported to these facilities on and as needed basis for permanent as well as for permanent generators and other residential facilities.
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to net more than i could say. i ask that my full testimony be entered into the record. finally, stanford offers an example of what i think you have heard from a number of my colleagues about the use of retain barriers. a 17-foot barrier which blocked a 11-foot storm surge from said the, built in 1969 and helped prevent about $25 million in damage to businesses and owns during s&p. stanford is waiting for federal funding of less than $1 million to replace the palms that had to be operated manually during the storm. an investment of less than $1 million toward ventura saving of 25 million in avoided recovery cost. similarly the army corps of engineers should and must take an increased role in the flood mitigation efforts, especially along the housatonic river where there has been repeated flooding
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as a result of these past storms and review and responsibility begins with the army corps of engineers, but congress can help support and move forward this was to work. flawed studies we will help identify how the state can be better prepared and equipped for the storm surges along the five mile river in fairfield and new haven counties, housatonic river. a variety of places around the state of connecticut where we know prevention works. we have seen it firsthand. and the investment now will avoid payment later. these projects require -- >> i hate to rush you, but i have all these numbers waiting. >> let me finish by thanking you, madam chairman. i hope that we can work together. >> we will. >> thank you. >> we will. and, you know, as you leave i just want to tell the house members, the purpose of this hearing today is to make a
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historic record. we cannot have all your constituents here. you are their representatives. and so we are going to put together a record of this hearing that we will actually give to each of you who made this record. in my own belief is that i hope and i pray it will be a turning point in how we look at climate change and that we began to make the necessary improvements that all of the center's, and very specific showing one example of where a million dollars can save 20 million plus. what is the point of us not listening to that? as we work on a bill, and some of you are on the house counterpart committees, we are going to address all of these issues as best we can as early as we can next year. so here is where we are. if i could thank the senator.
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i know they you have other meetings and i ask the order in which we hear from people considering who is in the room. this is what we are going to do. representative. if you could just all, of pier. we will go in that order. i have given you each to minutes, but i will have a very soft gavel. so if -- you know, as someone who spent ten years in the house i learned to speak in one minute i remember those days. when i got to the senate they came up to me one day and said, you changed. your so-called. well, and the house i had to get to the end of my speech and just have one minute to express myself. here i can work our way of to the ending. so i know it is a great skill,
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but you are all really good at it. we will start off with president alone. >> thank you. thanks for having this hearing and inviting as. my district was very hard hit by the storm, and i wanted to just focus on a number of critical issues that have come to light that i think that we must address as we move forward. i will not talk so much about what happened bubble we need to do over the next few months and year. first to my wanted to say, there is a need for more temporary housing alternatives. i have thousands of people that have lost their homes to land they cannot -- they actually have to reconstruct or rebuild. it is not just image. we have some temporary housing that is being sent up at a closed army base. we really need trailers and mobile homes. many of the mayors have requested those and they're willing to accommodate them. they have not arrived yet, but i want to mention that as a party. additionally we need fema to provide emergency funds to the army corps of engineers said they can repair breached dense
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and replenished beaches to protect the damage areas from future storms. you are from my two predecessors , my previous senators where there was a doom, where was the seat will, where there were replenished beaches. the damage was less. those places need to be -- those new to be put back again. i have also requested that fema wave that 25 percent state and local match for public assistance repair work many municipalities in my district, some of which are very small do not have the resources to contribute. i have some towns that have less than 1,000 families to and they cannot meet that 25 percent match. it is also chris it -- critical funding to be made available for homeowners to pursue buyouts or grants. we have some areas which have flooded for three times now. basically a buyout would make sense rather than trying to put the hose back again.
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the secretary of commerce has declared a fishery disaster did to the impact of sandy, but that should include commercial and recreational fishing communities . fish processors, charter boats, reed attacked land-based forces have lost their equipment infrastructure and expected revenues. congress must ensure funds are allocated for disaster assistance so that these individuals and businesses can receive relief. i met with an administrator, and i noted when i met him that small business failures, he said small-business failure rates after a major disaster can exceed 70%. so i believe we must also work to avoid this by expanding grants to assist small businesses facing damage from the storm, and i would also like to see grants available for homeowners whose insurance or fema grant did not provide enough funding to rebuild, something asking you to look into. finally, obviously we have to continue working a bipartisan manner. i would like to see a robust
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supplemental appropriations package in a lame-duck rather than wait until the new session. and i know that you are going to work with us to try to accomplish. >> and many of the things that you said obviously deal with the supplemental, and i will, of course, work with my colleagues. thank you very much. and as colleagues leave the table, new arrivals, please take there spot. we will move ahead. we are making a record year. a record of sandy. representative, thank you for being here. >> thank you, chairman. for the record i am representative lender in. this a relative. thank you for the upper charity. i want to thank you for having me here today to provide a local perspective on hurricane sandy. i am pleased to be here with my colleague as well as we talk about the impact.
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hurricane sandy was obviously a debt -- devastating storm for much of the northeast as we all know was some portions of the region still recovering. others that are forever changed. as ryland is now all too well, so-called 100 your storms are becoming a more frequent thing providing a stock of reminded that climate change is occurring, whether we like and not. while i sincerely hope that superstars like sandy are not becoming the norm, it is incumbent upon all of us to take action to mitigate future vulnerability. i must say that before, during, and after our first responders performed above and beyond our expectations and utilities and other stakeholders across ryeland were laudable in their preparation and responses to sandy. i want to be prepared. means more than having emergency response procedures in place. restore infrastructure. we must also build a strong
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coastal ecosystems that helped protect our communities. i echo those requests outlined by senators read in the white house and their testimony. our communities have shows tremendous strength and generosity in the wake of sandy. our federal and state agencies were well-prepared, organized, and responsive. if a recovery in rhode island and elsewhere will require continued application of federal resources in the current fiscal year and beyond as well as prudent and careful planning in order to meet the needs of our communities. in that regard chairman, i look forward to working with this committee and help families and businesses in rhode island and the rest of the region affected by send it to recover and rebuild in the wake of this disaster. thank you again for the opportunity and no afford to working with you. >> yes, and we look forward to working with you. we are going to your from
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representatives bishop, selene, hold, harris, and been scrapped in that order. >> madame chair, thank you very much for inviting myself and my colleagues from the house to testify before your committee today, and i want to start with a comment that you just made with respect to the imperative that we move reauthorization bill as quickly as possible because i believe that many of the challenges facing the first district of new york which represents can and would appropriately be addressed in a new water authorization bill. i hope the house can reach halfway in approving a bill as early as possible in the new congress. as your committee moves to consider measures to help affect states deal with the aftermath of such a massive storm as sandy, i would like to offer the following suggestions to ease the burden on our states and local government. first, we should waive the local cost share for core projects that were adversely impacted by hurricanes and the.
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in the recent past congress has authorized for projects at federal expense in response to a significant national or regional challenges. in my view the challenges facing our communities warrant such a change today. similar to the suggestion i offer and the house consider the recovery act in 2009. i will continue to advocate for a limited and appropriate cost share waver as the ranking member of the water resources and environment subcommittee of house. we should authorize a renewed commitment and investment in hurricane and storm damage reaction projects that provide invaluable storm protection for families of all socioeconomic levels in my district. in this life i applaud the first taken by this committee and you, madam chair, and i have a stand you're working closely with incoming ranking member in a draft water resource development act in addition we must ensure funding is wisely allocated to storm damage reduction solutions that have demonstrated successes such as the westhampton beach
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area of my district and protect the inner bay ecology along the south shore. finally, we should provide robust funding for the hazard mitigation grant program to ensure that cost-effective projects that will reduce or eliminate the losses from future disasters are able to move forward with state and local support. providing federal support for recovery cost in affected areas is absolutely critical, a strong hazard mitigation grant program would save money in the long term and make our communities more resilient. alex or to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to expedite these and other measures to rebuild and restore our communities in a fair and equitable manner. i yield back. thank you. >> thank you. it was a pleasure to work with you on the highway bill, and i look forward to keeping that going. to our colleagues who are just walking in, i want to welcome you. so you can see, we don't have a large enough table, but i think it was representative gramm bill came in next.
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i am not sure. please take a seat. we will now go in the order of arrival. what i want to say here. we are making a permanent record of what happens. you are the eyewitnesses' really . telling us the story. also, giving his ideas as you have some for what we should put in our bill and i am very pleased that you all took time. i know you are all very busy and have lots of places to be. although i give you two minutes i will add another matter not because i know even though you are used to speaking in one minute moments, i think this -- i think three minutes would be what you need. so we are going to proceed. representative. >> thank you. i want to begin by recognizing the incredible strength and resilience of those whose lives were affected by the storm,
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especially along their ryeland coastline where there was moderate to major flooding. i want to particularly applaud the efforts of our state and local first responders, national guard and the emergency management agency, public works and highways employees, national grid and our other utility providers and the many others who have been working relentlessly in the recovery effort. what to recognize the collaboration that was demonstrated across every level of government and in particular our governor and mayors and town administrators. every step of the way we had the assistance of the federal government helping inform, repair, and assist. now congress has a responsibility to ensure our communities can realistically and effectively as possible. we need to act expeditiously in providing additional disaster relief. at the same time this is an appropriate moment to assess potential reforms and that thank you for convening this hearing to address some of these issues. two issues i heard most frequently during hurricane
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sandy and irene which i would like to bring to your attention. first is from small business owners, particularly those from economic to challenge neighborhoods and small individually operated shops and businesses with just one or two or three employees. these small businesses face a particular set of challenges that often preclude them from taking advantage of sba disaster loans even with reduced interest rate, and i invite this committee and i will do the same on our side to assess the possibility of providing direct financial assistance to these truly disadvantaged small-business owners through grants or hybrid of up-front grants followed by a super low interest loans. we can establish stringent eligibility criteria and accounting mechanisms, but we need to attempted a target relief funds, those small businesses that sometimes face insurmountable hurdles following a disaster. the second issue which was raised to me during the tour of recovery sites after the storm
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is that as we invest in the restoration of highways, bridges , and infrastructure to pre disaster conditions, we should not be penny wise and pound foolish. we need to maximize the efficiency of this founding and obviously look at the waiver of the local concert, but we need to ensure their is a clear cost benefit analysis performed that evaluates whether it would be advantageous financially to economically, and in terms of future damage prevention to provide for additional enhancements to this infrastructure beyond that of pre disaster conditions alone. some additional prudence, but in light of the estimates showing a rise in the number of future large-scale disasters now is the time to assess all options and determine whether or not the current limitations are too restrictive. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. afford to working with you and the members of this community and as we continue to address these issues.
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>> had a similar thing in an earthquake when the bay bridge failed. it was or will. a big debate whether we should rebuild the the way it was or make improvements. we prevailed, but it was a big argument. it should not have been an argument. it does not make sense to rebuild it the way it was built since we now know that it can fail. anyway. all of these things that you are saying to me today are very important, and at is a pleasure to have you here. i call on representative called. >> i think the chair for holding these hearings and inviting as. i think appreciate the work of fema and director of food aid
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and all the workers it came from all over new jersey in the united states to help protect and assist the many people in new jersey affected by the storm, and i join there representatives in what they are requesting. but the point i want to make is today we must consider more than just repairing the damage from sandy. in recent years we have experienced in various parts of new jersey unprecedented floods, wind, rain, tidal surges. not just katrina, irene, floyd, sandy, but again the next storm will be different all me in detail. these are unprecedented storms are the normal. and deniers of climate change notwithstanding, we are deluding ourselves if we think we are not experiencing climate change. we must not simply replace the structures damaged. we have to build a resilient infrastructure to withstand tomorrow's superstars.
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we must build for the normal. that means significant investment in power engineering, transportation engineering, rail engineering, wireless engineering, shoreline engineering, river flood control , planning to residential building and other efforts to strengthen our infrastructure, all in addition to taking as aggressive steps as we can to bring climate changed under control as best we can. so just as strengthening levees was part of the emergency supplemental spending for katrina, so infrastructure strengthening should be part of the response to sandy. i cannot emphasize this too strongly. i am sure that the chair understands this. again, i thank you for giving us this time.
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>> thank you so much. we will turn to representative harris followed by past well. i think that will be it. please proceed. >> thank you very much. the opportunity to provide brief testimony and the impact of hurricane sandy on the area i represent the first congressional district of maryland including our marrow's eastern shore budget of only a few feet above sea level. the committees of chris field, smith island, marion, chairman, which implies, and princess sand particularly hard hit the flood, wind, and rain damage. these committees continue to recover, our thoughts and prayers go out as well to our neighbors from the york, new jersey, delaware, connecticut and maryland, and other areas where today's heartfelt testimony shows just how lives and businesses were disrupted as they dealt with this as a property loss. october 31st a toward the affected sites with governor
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o'malley and fema and local officials to see firsthand the serious impact of the superstore while i reinforced the idea that the army corps beach engineering projects willie protected ocean city from major damage it was good to see because that is an investment we made over the years. i was nonetheless stunned to see the devastation to some of our communities and see what they suffered. three weeks after the event last week all americans watched thousands of families eating thanksgiving dinner in a shelter. .. it
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to those parts of our community most in need of assistance. madam chairman, i i want to thank you code in this important of record. >> i want to thank you very much. again, you are the eyes and ears. so thank you very much. and now we will turn to representative pascrell. >> thanks for putting us together today and listening. this was an epic storm.
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any epic response. i hope it does not get caught up in the debates were having in the house and the senate. i hope we face this fiscal cliff would've the reader to talk about because that would be very dangerous to people not only in the state of new jersey, that the other states in the metropolitan area in the tri-state area. we are working with the ways and means committee as a member myself to draft legislation modeled after other epic storms, which would bring some tax relief allowing businesses to expense the cost of disaster recovery is critical when we see how many businesses have been wiped out. popular vote damaged low-income housing and providing help in financing the momentous task of rebuilding infrastructure. what we have now in fema is not good enough for the losses small
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businesses businesses. it just is not. we don't need no interest on. what we need is a new addressing of the major problems. small businesses are not satisfied with low-interest loans at this point. it's beyond that. it needs to be responded to what i hope this legislation will do that. you take a look at bergen county in the ninth congressional district. two towns were wiped out when the hackensack river rose above his bare, the burn. the nokia police department, there isn't any. we were trying to get federal funding -- matching funding to bring in trailers for that time and i think we'll accomplish it. the mayor had his house wiped out. almost lost his life. this is a tragedy beyond words and certainly my words. it will be at the hands of the federal government in a
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bipartisan group like the one before this committee today to step in and help rebuild. this is critical. we need to review our grid. senator, this is very important not only for her she's given metropolitan area, but the greatest not doing what it's supposed to do. it is a homeland security issue. no question about it. we have substations with go, which was everybody out of power in the immediate area. the substations have been compromised in the immediate area. the substations have been compromised that other states area. the substations have been compromised that other states across the union. this is a homeland security issue, whether it's man-made or cut it doesn't matter. we need to respond to it. i will conclude by saying senator, you know exactly what i'm talking about. we cannot touch this up in the discussion in terms of responding to the economic plight of this country.
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we cannot grow through miss out and have a million x uses. thank you for having us. >> representative, i couldn't agree more. republicans before us, democrats before us. we can't come together and hope the people and we get this cut up and arthur disputes and problems. shame on us. people will watch and see it. they're certain things way about politics. this superstore in this one of those things. >> wasn't an easy on katrina. you know that, senator. there's lot to debates. i hope some of the folks who're obstacles are ashamed of the behavior. i mean, these people had nothing as well. we can't rise above our political ideologies and we don't belong here. >> well, i think we are going to. i feel confident of that. i ask unanimous consent to enter
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records by peter king, rosa dora, joe runyan and frank lobiondo. i've been happy we've been joined by representative smith and we will end this order continue. i want to say for those who just came, we are making a record eyewitness account of what happened in world so using your testimony as a way to guide us while we rate the water resources go to do with flood control and prevention. the order now is in goal, grim, courtney smith. congressman engel, the floor is yours. >> thank you, none chairman. it's nice to see graduates from the house was the lone senate. >> paternoster graduated. i laughed. >> as you know, i represent the 17th district which is the politics for bronx just north of new york city.
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sin is the largest tropical system ever recorded in the atlantic to stretch a hundred and 11 miles and she whispered a the very beginning. and because so many people in the caribbean including 54 in haiti and 11 in cuba and october 29, crashed ashore the united states. it seemed he had taken 131 american lives which included 53 new yorkers. in the new york city region, madam chair, which you know well, 305,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. to put for residents lost power for transit system carried daily raiders was forced to shut down. 37 health care facilities housing with 6000 patients were forced to evacuate. she doesn't also rose or damaged inflows. all systems seem to client up over 70 billion still accumulating. it's the second most expensive storm in u.s. history after
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hurricane katrina in the face of unimaginable destruction it's been inspired and hurt me to see so many citizens from every neighborhood and across the country pitching in with relief efforts. being a circus than a marble. for the 231,000 new yorkers have contacted fema in 680 million in assistance approved. department of agriculture's food and nutrition services distributed 1.1 million pounds of household face he was used to but obviously as my colleagues have said, much more needs to be done. we must provide more funding to the region. in 2005 reprint 58.1 billion to help states recover from the effect of hurricane katrina. a similar effort must be made for those impacted by sandy. in addition to pass destruction we must also look to prepare for the future you are likely to
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experience more storms and sandy's magnitude and we are not ready. to adequately prepare first of all we must build a better grid. a strong decisive sandy was stress the electrical. that's not what we have. we still depend on 20 century technology to power 21st century economy. we must bury powerlines purchased 18% of u.s. distribution lines are underground and buried them could make it tremendous difference. some of my constituents had to wait two to three weeks before they could get power. this is unacceptable. we must continue to fully fund fema and review practices to make sure performance as efficiently and effectively as possible. we must build better infrastructure. america spends 2.4% of its economy and infrastructure compared with 5% in europe 9% in
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china. we are two of 21st century economy and live in the real world of this 2.4% is not sustainable and unsuccessful. we must excel the replacement of natural gas pipelines to releasing the leaking gas filled hundreds of players including blazes that destroyed hundreds of homes. as you mention so eloquently, senator, we messed up ignoring climate change. a server, commerce committee committee and the science is clear to cutting carbon emissions over the long-term is key to reducing the risk from extreme weather. i thank you for the opportunity to testify and look forward to working together to help fellow americans healed and ensure we are all better prepared for similar service in the future. >> thank you, representatives. >> thank you, madam chairman. appreciate the invitation to speak for the committee today.
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i proudly represent the staten island brooklyn. staten island is one of the hardest hit areas of all of new york city. i was on the ground for the moment the storm started in the amount of devastation that i saw was unimaginable. 24 staten island or sauced their lives. families lost everything. homes were literally torn off their foundations. some collapsed. large boats, yachts were scattered deep into neighborhoods and piled up onto people's homes. more than 100,000 were without power for weeks people slept in a cold, damp home, apprehensive to three shelter because they
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were afraid of looting. the streets were dark flickered with what was once their home and personal belongings. as a community in a city, we came together and we cleaned up the surface rather quickly. but there is still much deeper and continuing challenges that remain. families are still in shelters. the need for housing is one of our top priorities. other strictly with fema nsp to receive adequate assistance. there are health concerns. fuel spilled into people's yards and homes. raw sewage backed up and fill people's homes to the ceiling. homeowners are uncertain about epa guidelines and not rebuilding homes properly, leaving the house is at risk to be content later for mold because they'll be too sick to
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live in. i know we will meet these challenges but in addition we need to rebuild to prevent future disasters. whinny to provide the army corps of engineers adequate funding to fortify our coastline. cd recovery is far from over. in fact, it is just beginning. the people of staten island have turned to us to rebuild and recover. i think if we here in this chamber to one 10th of what the community did, came together as countrymen, neighbors, friends, if we can do one 10th of that, i know we will be rebuilt stronger than ever. but better yet they continue mac. >> thank you commander eloquent testimony. we will turn out to
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representative courtney. >> thank you, senator. the urgency of the situation was shown this one of the federal reserve which had reports and from the 12 regions around the country had the good news is nine hundred 12 shogun signs of economic growth. this recover or philadelphia, new york and boston and was hurricane sandy identified as the reason why we've got to hit the sweet spot in terms of a good package to help the critical part of america to be part of a strong time of economic growth is so important to all the priorities we face as a nation. eastern connecticut, eastern long island which runs from stony to mistake. an error you've visited with one of my predecessors all the way to new haven has experienced for fema events in two years going back to fighting in the spring of 2010, hurricane aimee, strachan offered last year and
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hurricane sandy. in our area because the breakwater from the long island sound doesn't extend all the way, we experience 90 mile per open are coincided with a type. the self-loading and physical destruction that exceeded a hurricane from 1938 from which the old-timer said was the high water mark in terms of bad weather and connecticut. the other point is that these four events, communities on the shoreline and interior, every single time first responders and local government has risen to the challenge to make sure first responder issues are met, the 7525 reimbursement that comes from fema and the fact without repetitive series of storms is starting to affect the ability of communities to maintain
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standard operations. the city of new london, a distress principality did everything they had to do in terms of protecting lives, but the delicate a structural deficit that the expenditure triggered that without that are basically enough firemen and police. president of on this prompt declaration was much appreciated because it took some of the doubt about whether spending money was going to rebound homering again. if we can look at the per capita threshold that triggers the high reimbursement, the fact is communities deserve that. they've experienced in historic repetition of bad weather that is really now starting to hit home and muscle in terms of the ability to provide basic functions for local government. thank you for holding this hearing and look forward to record the senate and house
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bipartisan groups to get the right response. >> representative, thank you. as a former member local government, there's so many times you go to the well. as a small tax base coming out of a recession with receipts are down. you make an important point this committee won't be dealing with supplemental directly. indirectly we will because so many of us, not myself on the west coast although born on the east coast, they'll get very involved in the supplemental. you make an important point about local match. thank you. representative smith, last but not least the floor is yours. >> thank you her convenient is timely and important hearing. chairwoman, hours after each sandy said, i met to survey the damage of our coastal communities and have about 20 better read on on the water.
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devastations of homes and businesses that this storm. i walked with the mayor today after the solid natural gas was so strong, so pungent that any of us let the match would have an explosion in many homes did down to nothingness. the courage, tenacity and resiliency of the victims is amazing. stories of neighbors helping neighbors at the ticking kindness by providing shelter, food and warm dry clothing or without number. people are at once her broken comet devastated coming at appreciative of the health are getting what they have left. one resident plummeted after city demolished his home because have lost everything but at least i'm alive. first responders and emergency management personnel deserve the greatest principle can risk in mice to ensure the safety of families and working around the clock to mitigate suffering and damage. sean golden from the oem direct
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your maniacal master knotty lead and others with extreme effectiveness. i need to do the damage is startling, yet i remain confident we can rebuild in a smart sophisticated way. using lessons learned from hurricane irene we can take actions that will prevent this level of destruction and contain the cost to taxpayers for the next powerful weather event hits. features the sum is 130 months of cosine was better of a severe wind, highways and rising ocean. in most areas for the army corps of engineers implemented rainer schmidt projects, there is less damage than it would've been. for the korbel tire burns the back the water. with a religious water came flooding in. in ocean county with laden
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beaches, the mission house, businesses and other infrastructure with significantly less than towns were similar rainer schmidt efforts have not yet been done. the court rejects projects, prove themselves extremely worthwhile and i think we need to continue his work in rebuild were feasible. governor christie focus like a laser beam. this estimate is $36.9 billion, e.u. sum of money, but very, very well documented. preventing flooded homes is more efficient than repairing the many water breach. as such we believe it's necessary in our delegation is united on this and cost effective to provide emergency funding to finish beach replenishment jobs that authority been authorized into the carefully at those on the drawing board at the feasibility study level. i asked my full statement be made part of the record.
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we need to really unite and go all out to repair and how people have been terrifically affected. >> without objection from overture full text in the record. it's been noted this was a bipartisan list of witnesses and all of us are saying essentially the same thing, which of his untold suffering, that we need to move forward in a united way to resolve this problem and meet the expectations that people have of us that we will step up and be sure that we rebuild in a way where these things don't happen, that we keep in mind the fact that local governments and states are looking to us. i am very hopeful we can meet the expectations of the citizens of the region and also frankly the country. there is no one in this country unless they are really lucky that hasn't been touched by one
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of these natural disasters, whether it's this one for earthquakes, floods, fire, drought. in lander on the coasts commend this is the time and moment we come together and i think it was shown by the governor of new jersey and president of the united states initiated a campaign we must settle aside to get this done. i know you had a hectic day. we're very pleased that she came. this hearing stands adjourned. the
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>> next come the sunlight foundation is a discussion of the pledge of government transparency. the outgoing u.s. commander in africa talks about efforts to keep al qaeda out of african nations.
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>> according to advocates committee upon the administration efforts and government transparent era mix. monday the sunlight foundation on the farm on whether at the obama lived up to his pledge to do most of the government in american history. this discussion is 90 minutes. >> good morning. welcome to the advisory committee on transparency and the obama presidency. i'm sure in for with the sunlight foundation. local. many meanings of transparency. i'm not going to get to authenticate, but will focus on different facets of it. there's widely divergent opinions on successes of the obama administration and i hope to explore some today.
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president obama made a number of promises and his running for president. a number still available unchanged.gov under the course of the administration new issues came up for dealing with campaign finance disclosure to dealing with law suit. baseman chase changes. what has occurred or not occur during the last four years and looking forward to the next. she can join for three experts on my right, tran thi appeared next to her history and three. to my left history to come the white house reporter for "politico." for more extensive by every sunday or chairs and those watching at home, transparencycaucus.org. i will go right into remarks my panelists will start with them. >> good afternoon, everybody.
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i'll get some remarks on ethics and transparency issues. if i had to summarize how the obama administration is done i would say the efforts of the well intended but not always well executed. we start out wanting to make a strong statement so one of the initial statements we had to put in place that said two years after leaving you cannot lobby on the issue or the agency left. first of all i think it flows from the basic premise that lobbying is evil and that's not a view i share. it allows a lot of voices to be heard via municipal state government places that wouldn't otherwise be heard to speak on behalf of the public interest. beyond that, it is
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underinclusive occlusive. it is based on whether or not you're a registered lobbyist. that meant that it's a been a lot of public interest groups. these are groups that don't lobby for money and they are lobbying based on behalf of the public interest. many of which are people who wanted government because they have the expertise, because they look out for the public interest. if they are included in this underinclusive because if you were to register lobbyists come you're not subject to it. it's had the perverse effect of causing people to register. it was very much a bold statement. obviously generated schema
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lobbyists and the white house's signal we need business. the question is more nuanced. in a similar vein, the white house relatively early on made a decision to disclose. again, they were trying to make a bold statement and begin inside next disguise. the fact i always want to point out is they didn't do this on their own. they did it with litigation by my group and they were in the mid-of negotiating over obamacare and we want to know which health care lobbyist is the white house. going into court and having to argue for not disclosing information at that time. that said they did adopt
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policies to put all these records online. has the earthquakes you can read about our news articles. at the same time we had more immersive chechen. recently the focus on broadwell and affair with david petraeus and my understanding is some of them are not recorded. and then we had this story is of white house staffers meeting at caribou coffee to avoid having records. i don't mean to sound totally negative. i am by no means not, but what starts out as dramatic gestures can the devil is in the details and they don't always work out to be a totally popular thing. we had other things on the transparency front. they came from the president and
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the attorney general on the foia front. i think everyone in the community was thrilled to see this as a high priority for the administration because you can't talk about transparency because it's the light that keeps people at the club. the implementation has been quite an expert but i've come to appreciate is it's very slow to turn the ship of state. it's very hard to change cultures and agencies and they're clearly has been a closer. i think we're starting to gradually see change, but it's been slow. virtually from my tape the biggest offenders going to be the department of justice, which continues to withhold a lot of very significant documents.
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llc just to name one. and litigation we are seen it the same position it always does. ..
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>> is not a policy
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statement. but i realize i come across as quite negative in that is not my intent but i think it is the responsibility to always be badgering the administration to do a better job. rating fact that we have more dialogue about 1/6 is an important and significant step but there is a long way to go. of divx four years we can get a sense of the goals that was announced at the beginning of the administration.
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>> i am the executive director of the dated transparency coalition. we have a levin and growing company is as members and broadly speaking our coalition supports policies the results in the standardization and publication of government data that policies aligned quite well with the government's strategy and the stated direction of the obama administration. in our opinion must be
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published in a useful format and must be standardized and machine readable and up until now we have not done a very good job. not of the publication. what is our view of what the administration has accomplished? has a administration published the most viable government dated? now staff members rely on their positions and the coalition thinks the government data over five categories that so i will
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not spend too much time but broadly speaking we have five buckets. spending common management, performance, reg ulation, legislation, and judicial documents. there is certain data that set the core of government for what we talk about. with the spending category the question to be answered with this is spent on contracts? how does budgeting compare with transactions which are reported to the treasury department? landmark legislation, digital and transparency act proposed a june 2011 by both parties coming to be blood to the
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obama at white house has a post the date and has testified against the legislation and tried to prevent congress from passing legislation that would require the publication is standardization. >> talked-about management. the most important data is what brought -- programme says the government have how is it compares to past performance? there has a more progress congress passed an act two years ago requires the administration to come up with federal programs and that is happening you have a published list machine
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readable to electronically track performance. third category is regulation mrs. where it has been mixed we have half a million datasets in many are machine readable but the most important thing is not being published the mr. shoulda has not move toward getting it done. take finance to regulatory information. the sec requires companies to file financial statements for the first time they are machine readable but they have not moved to take any other information that they publish and the same format. it has 600 forms although
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the tagging is great only applies to two of the forms. the mysteries as that taken steps to adopt more tagging such as asking them to expand tagging. those are the most important categories day into judicial comments later but publishing the most important data it is hard and requires a lot of people to lose their jobs and legislative action as they have seen. the administration has done reluctant to take the strategy over the past spring to translate those into real action to its written to the bully pulpit to make sure that happens. >> tried to give a
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reporter's perspective to transparency and where the rubber meets the road with a specific story where the administration to do more than it is currently doing the first is topical with the fiscal cliff you have meetings taking place with sticklers various leaders or interest groups they have taken place behind closed doors and what ousted telesis was there but would not allow was in to see them and when congress came to talk the press was brought
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in two minutes before there was substantive conversations. who would think it should be different? one person whose seemed and should be done different may is barack obama. go back to the campaign where he railed against backroom dealings or even with the health care reform talks and legislative talk came to fruition he said he made a significant mistake by abandoning pledges to transparency and going forward with do things differently. it seems there has that been done anything differently i not know if this promises were unrealistic but it in the area of one other story is of court-martial for bradley manning it with the
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source for wikileaks has led may have done in the year the 1800's you could see what happens in the courtroom but beyond that there is non transparency whatsoever. there are no documents or the legal filings the prosecution, defense, judge's ruling reading rapid-fire from the bench and good luck you cannot jotted down you will not get it. it is a bizarre way to proceed in courts where it is 13 the available. who with think they can be done differently?
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when it was military commissions at guantanamo bay with a political imperative to push a forward to the administration said in those proceedings that would make a filings public within a short period of time and the set up the website now post most filings within reasonable amount of time. there is a transcript within 24 hours after a hearing. bumper assemblies and after saying they are committed could do that after deliberation after commission proceedings but with respect to a court-martial proceeding with an american citizen on
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trial they find themselves paralyzed and unable to provide that. those are a couple of examples of my disappointment. also national-security, we have seen interesting efforts to get out with drums and the legal principles but there has been a resistance to discuss the nitty gritty for what we should know to the extent you want to flush it out even more is said it will be to "the new york times" so that his is disappointing to those move like to see these in a more open and fashion. there are my thoughts as a reporter.
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>> as food for thought i did invite the white house to join in the discussion but unfortunately nobody was able to attend. there are critiques that the channel white house if they were here what would you say they do a good job? what about the open government initiative for partnership with the first creation of good chief information officer. it may be worth touching on josh? are there things that are better? >> my eighth impression this
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advance is with the visitor log is substantial and this seems the way we've made progress will be to institutionalize a process. left to individuals i grow increasingly pessimistic that will make any progress. is seems to go against human nature. whether the next administration is republican or democrat to reverse the position on the white house visitor logs. it is not perfect there are omissions and sometimes
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their need to be there are ways to get around it it does take three months for it to come out but sometimes you can use the fact it will come out eventually to discuss in realtime. that is a fairly substantial contribution. i would like to know what they own it but it is a substantial amount of data one other area is i do street with foia the administration has interpreted more liberal leave to read these more information than there predecessor administrations would have. if you get into real litigation they take the identical position in court as their predecessor but
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there has been some more information coming that it just fall short of what open government advocates had in mind. >> i agree with what was said. the willingness to tackle the hard issue is to be commended. there is no comparison and i think the over day shopping government directive they are trying to institutionalize things and i have come to appreciate how challenging that is because when you deal with
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these agencies and the sculptures and the average person processing the foyer request says i will not get in trouble when i don't disclose but what i do disclose and it is hard to fight against that. i don't mean to suggest it is a total failure by the have had reasonable success and as long as they are committed we continue to have time to further entrench the a.d. is of greater transparency. >> with open dated there has been progress the chief technology officer made a name for himself by posting
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the half on the event he would invite staff developers to take daybed that the department would make available to build the at the and business opportunities and as a new chief technology officer has continued the practice treasury hosted this that -- first such event last friday although treasury required the administration to change the name to eight convening which. [laughter] is much less threatening if we're used to keeping dated close instead of public those events allowed the policy to identify where the gaps are. you can discuss value in a couple of different ways whether it is liable to democracy zero or the companies such as the
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members of my coalition to use it for her business opportunities or both. but stills those highest value datasets are still not disclosed zero or standardized. without the legislative agenda i think the white house cannot get there. >> reading this into the convening we talk about we have seen some efforts with the o'quinn government initiative although it hasn't had this nation but this is the effort to get all of the agency's moving
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in the same direction where the agents dead no. some of this perhaps we had the ethic bizarre either way i apologize there was a lot of effort and it seems there was change that happened when he became ambassador and then the executive director famously said there was not transparency in said dna which is not help coal with the white house at the time. questions on getting agencies to do things. would is the barrier? what impedes progress?
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transparency is a few issue that people can agree on not everything but a lot what is holding up progress? >> you have alluded to some of the barriers. without having access to the president it has been tough. having someone who was committed to the issues to take on the hard issues did make a difference. with the white house visitor logs that not would have happened but for him. he was willing to look at a visionary cents because the
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anders stood it was not forever. that lead has not been picked up anywhere else there is nobody in know when the although it would be logical to have a point* person but that did not have been and is wonderful there are chief foia officers but to igo that has led to government initiatives are changes. the lack of effective leadership in the white house has made it difficult to make more significant progress. >> is tempting to say the white house could not
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russell the agency's but i think while part of the problem does not give a full explanation because i can say from my a experience there is laws they do have to agree -- comply with from the federal advisory act in this body with ambiguity and then the white house council office 10 street take the most aggressive push of the position that have to open telephone committee meetings i have a story how the president jobs council has not met in more than six months. it has now been 11. now receives unofficially their meeting by telephone in temptation of the basis
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banking a briefing from the treasury secretary are other councilmembers by field with the administration committed to chance "barron's" the could figure out how to do that in public as others managed to do the people feel it as an inconvenience so i think it is dead difficulty of rustling agencies to the ground and lack of commitment particularly with any political downside as was said as an issue collide with something with the political downside transparency goes by the wayside. they cannot been carried the
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day but if it gets into the spotlight that values seems to slip. >> the administration has made a commitment for regulatory affairs they have the memo but they are not doing it. is there no% to say this? the press secretary's the one is to be the spokesperson but the other is to help it answers to questions rfa and a position
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they could help answer questions or is it more of the bush administration they you just hit a brick wall? >> the job of the deputy press secretary is quite different than it was generally think they are informed about the issues they talk about hank comprised information as well horrified everybody off the record but they do have some degree of contact of what they speak about my experience with the bush and administration the people al that lightbulb did not have information and whoever
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called you was not in a position to tell you because they did not know more about it. so that is an improvement but you're asking if the press secretary acts as an advocate in terms of access to the president i would say that has not been my experience with this administrations. >> access with the foyer records we have seen there will come out with a policy but then if you talk to the people at the front line they have no idea there has been a change. is there a communications gap? >> the way these things work
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is through the feedback loop with people who can take calls and complaints to say "this is it" working but then can make the exchange. that may not work with great significance but with routine access that is the feedback that produces positive change in the loop seems to have slowed down over 30 months probably do with some departures are a lack of focus of the administration in the first 18 months may haee

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